4th of July Cook out : Baking Illustrated Challenge Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

There were a few snafus with this cake. However, before we get into that I would like to meantion that the cook out for the Fourth of July was a hit! The apatizers turned out phenomenal, the ribs were to die for, and overall I think everyone had a great time. I even got my nephew to play with me a bit, though my back is killing me due to the pick up and toss on the couch game.


Deviled Eggs
This is my first time making these and I am so Thankful to the wife of another Veteran who gave me advice on how to make them so that they do not crack as much. These were tangy, and were eaten like hot cakes. I think we only have 3 left.

Asparagrus Wraps (insert photo here)

These were amazing! I could snack on these Asparagus wraps all day long. Though they were difficult to tie up into bunddles, and eventually we gave up due to frustration. They were worth all the work that we put into them.

The day before I mixed the dry ingredinets for the cake, which was a life saver due to having to make the Asparagus wraps, set up for the party, and clean. The cake turned out well and was simple to make. I did end up taking a hunk of my knuckle out with the vegtetable peeler. I also have a few battle scars from all the prep work.

The only thing that I had issues with is the frosting. I should have taken the cream cheese and butter out while I was preparing the cake, and baking it. Then it would have been softened enough. Since, it wasnt softened enough I had lumps. I heated up the frosting in the microwave on 10 sec. intervals, mixing betweeen each warm up until it was smooth. Then I had another problem … it was runny *headesk*

*note I scraped the inside of a vanilla bean and added that to the frosting as well.

So, I tried adding more powdered sugar…and more, and more, well you get the picture. Then I added corn starch. It started to thicken a little. So, I kept adding more. Then I tasted it….wrinkled my nose…and went to the computer room. I searched for how to fix runny frosting. Voila! Meringue powder. The plus it doesnt add to the sweetness of the frosting which was the problem! I added 3 t of meringue powder and mixed. I tasted the batch and it was so much better. It was lighlty sweet, tangy from the sour cream, and you could taste the cream cheese. I left it in the fridge until I was ready to frost and serve the cake.

Overall, it was a good learning experience. 



I forgot to take pictrues until I was serving the cake …ooops. 🙂

Baking Illustrated Challenge
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

For the cake:
2 1/2 c ap flour
1 1/4 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/8 t cloves
1/2 t salt
1 pound carrots, peeled
1 1 /2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 c vegetable oil
For the frosting:
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
5 T unsalted butter, room temperature
1 T sour cream
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 c confectioners’ sugar

1 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray, line the bottom with parchment paper and spray parchment again.
2 In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.
3 Fit a food processor with the shredding disk, and shred the carrots into it. Dump the carrots into the bowl with the dry ingredients. ( I shreaded mine via a chef dini )
4. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachement place sugars, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla start on low and gradually go higher until blended throughly. With the stand mixer running on medium low, pour in the oil in a steady stream and blend.
5. Slowly mix dry ingredients into wet, do not completely mix dry ingredients. You do not want to over mix the cake. You just dont want to have lumps of dry ingredients in the cake. At this time fold in 4 ounces of Pecans or Walnuts.
5 Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake 35-45 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of cake.  Set pan on top of stove or wire rack and let it cool completely. Then invert on to a square platter take off parchment invert on to serving platter.

6 In mixing bowl cream the creamcheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla. Process until smooth, scraping as needed. Add confectioners sugar and process until smooth.

7 Frost cake, cut into squares and serve. Tightly cover and refrigerate any leftovers.

Happy Independence Day!


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